Bangalore, Aug.14 : In a glittering ceremony held here, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)-built first Hawk Mk132 trainer jet was handed over to Indian Air Force, marking a new era in the Indian defence aviation sector.
The Hawk Mk 132 was handed over to Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, by HAL Chairman Ashok K Baweja.
Talking to mediapersons after the ceremony, Major said that the Hawk Mk 132 aircraft would tremendously help in the training of Indian fighter pilots.
He further said that the aircraft would help pilots in the transmission of training stage from sub-sonic to supersonic.
Answering a volley of questions on India's plans for acquiring 126 fighter jets from abroad, the Chief of Air Staff said that the technical evaluation of these multi-role aircraft was under progress. He said that the technical evaluation may take couple of months after which the flight evaluation will be initiated in January, 2009. The air chief said money would not be a matter of consideration when it came to purchasing these aircraft.
Major hoped that the pride of the Indian Air Force, the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) "Dhruv" would add to the capabilities of the Air Force.
Commenting over the scuffle between the Air Force and BIAL on having second runway at the Bengaluru International Airport, Major said that the Air Force will resolve the issue soon.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Chairman Ashok Baweja detailed the various initiatives of HAL. Baweja said that HAL would supply 100 Hawk Mk 132 in three phases over a span of six years. n the first phase, 42 aircraft would be handed over in the next two and half years. In the second phase 57 aircraft and the remaining would be supplied in the third phase.
Baweja said that HAL would evolve the Light Combat Aircraft and would come up with a Mark-II upgradation.
Commenting about the Sukhoi, Baweja said that the HAL is producing raw materials for Sukhoi and would also produce two Sukhoi aircraft.
With The induction of the Hawk Mk 132 aircraft, a long pending need of the Air Force for the trainer Hawks has been met. By K.G. Vasuki